Fresh from a stunning second-round rematch knockout win over Jorge Masvidal just last weekend at UFC 261, defending welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman appears to have sights firmly fixed on his next attempted title defence already.
According to the Auchi native’s manager, Dominance MMA leader, Ali Abdelaziz, Usman has called for him to propose a title defence against the #7 ranked welterweight contender, Michael Chiesa on June 12th at UFC 263.
Usman managed to successfully lodge his fourth consecutive defence of the 170lbs championship at the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida last weekend — stopping hometown favourite, Masvidal with a massive second frame knockout.
Prior to the event, UFC leader, Dana White had outlined that if Usman could overcome the BMF titleholder, Masvidal for the second time in his career, a rematch with December 2019 foe, arch-rival, Colby Covington would await him next.
“Well, those guys (Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal) were talking about rematching after that fight (at UFC 251) ’cause he (Masvidal) had taken that fight on short notice,” White said during a recent interview with Yahoo! Sports reporter, Kevin Iole. “And, (Kamaru) Usman was like, ‘I don’t want any excuses out of this guy.’ So I got no problem rematching them.“
“And I know we tried to make other fights — listen, everybody knows what I thought of the Usman vs. Colby Covington fight,” White said. “It’s one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what happened timing-wise or whatever that, that fight couldn’t happen, but it will. If he (Usman) wins this weekend, Colby’s next.“
Despite a certain blueprint laid out by White, Abdelaziz informed ESPN MMA reporter, Brett Okamoto, recently that Usman has asked him to float a June 12th. return to UFC brash, with the aforementioned, Chiesa serving as the next challenger to his throne.
“Kamaru (Usman) in the last ten months fought three times, Colby (Covington) in the last three years, fought three times,” Abdelaziz said. “After Kamaru destroyed his jaw and disfigured his face, Kamaru went and fought three times, defend against tough opponents. He (Covington) went and fought Woodley, the guy (Woodley) is not even in the UFC anymore, he’s 40-years-old and beat him.“
“Maybe Colby Covington is good for business, who cares? (Michael) Chiesa, four-fight winning streak. Vicente Luque (has a) three-fight winning streak, Leon Edwards, (a) nine-fight winning streak? Why (is) Colby so special? What about Kamaru, if Marvin Vettori beats Israel Adesanya, why (can’t) Kamaru go up and fight Marvin Vettori for the middleweight title?“
Abdelaziz has claimed that Usman, who has already featured in February of this year to go with last weekend’s win over Masvidal, can make the Octagon walk another three times in 2021, before echoing the suggestion of a June showdown with Chiesa.
“Listen, Kamaru earned every right to do what he wants right now,” Usman explained. “But, we are respectful to Dana (White) and his wishes and we are going to work together regardless. We will make it happen. Kamaru called yesterday, he said, ‘June 12th., let’s do Michael Chiesa’. He asked me who had the longest winning streak in the division in the top five or six, I said Chiesa, he said June 12th. (Chiesa) doesn’t have a fight, it doesn’t really matter who. He said, ‘Let’s do Michael Chiesa, ask the UFC if I can fight on June 12th.’ I told the UFC, Kamaru can fight three more times this year.“
As part of Chiesa’s four-fight undefeated streak since his move to welterweight, he’s taken unanimous decision wins over former interim welterweight titleholder, Carlos Condit, one-time lightweight title challenger, Diego Sanchez, former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos, and in a reworked headliner at UFC Fight Island 8 in January — scored a one-sided judging win over division staple, Neil Magny.